Open Enrollment for 2017 is now open for the Affordable Care Act. It’s important to note changes to open enrollment including the limiting of the open enrollment period from 12 weeks to 6 weeks for those who purchase policies through the federal health insurance exchange at healthcare.gov with Open Enrollment closing on December 15, 2017. If you live in a state that has it’s own health insurance exchange, the open enrollment period may be longer, so be sure to check. For all changes see: Here’s what you need to know about ACA Open Enrollment 2017. Start early and compare options.
And thanks to the Trump Administration’s attempt to sabotage the Affordable Care Act through eliminating cost sharing subsidies, nearly 98% of counties operated by Healthcare.gov will have a free bronze tier health insurance plan for low income consumers aged 50 earning 150% of poverty or less ($18,090 for an individual or $36,900 for a family of four). This is according to a study just released by Avalere . In 2018, these highly-subsidized consumers will also have access to free silver plan options in 18% of counties. Further, 10% of counties will have free gold plan options available to individuals making $18,090, or 150% of poverty, per year. While availability of free subsidized options decreases for individuals with higher incomes, 2018 will have a high number of free subsidized options.
When the cost sharing subsidies were stopped, insurance companies increased premium levels to make up for the loss of cost-sharing subsidies which in turn triggered increased Advanced Premium Tax Credits. Only silver tier plan were eligible for the cost sharing subsidy, however the APTC applies to all ACA plans. It is estimated that at the end of the day 80% of those who have an ACA policy will have the same or lower premiums.
Therefore it is critical that you compare all of your options. This includes private exchanges, though it is important to note that subsidies only apply to plans purchased through either the federal health care exchange or a state care exchange. As Smokey Robinson and the Miracles sang in this great live version “You Better Shop Around“.
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